Robert Mugabe, the former leader of Zimbabwe, died after a months-long battle with ill health. Mugabe’s death was confirmed to BBC by his family shortly after he passed away. Mugabe was 95 at the time of his passing.
Mugabe died in a hospital in Singapore after a long sickness. The former president had been receiving treatment at this hospital since earlier this year, per iHarare. However, Mugabe’s health has been the subject of much speculation during the last few months. In fact, according to the South China Morning Post, two journalists were arrested in March 2019 for reporting that the former dictator was “in bad shape.”
However, photos released of Zimbabwe’s first post-independence leader clearly showed that his health was deteriorating. According to 263 Chat, Mugabe’s last official appearance was on July 30, 2018. At the time, he told the media that he would vote for the opposition party, possibly indicating that he was bitter after his removal from office. He has avoided the media since.
One of the last photos of Mugabe showed the true state of his failing health. Mugabe had become a frail nonagenarian who was enjoying his final years with his family. Panic erupted in Zimbabwe after the release of the photos on social media. President Emmerson Mnangagwa addressed the nation and asked them to pray for their former ruler. He assured them that he was recovering well after a recent stint in the hospital.
— • ROBERTINO • (@xgxceo) June 3, 2019
However, on the morning of September 6, Mnangagwa released a statement on Twitter. He confirmed that Mugabe had passed away and posted a glowing tribute to the man who he ousted from his position.
“Cde Mugabe was an icon of liberation, a pan-Africanist who dedicated his life to the emancipation and empowerment of his people. His contribution to the history of our nation and continent will never be forgotten. May his soul rest in eternal peace.”
It is with the utmost sadness that I announce the passing on of Zimbabwe's founding father and former President, Cde Robert Mugabe (1/2)
— President of Zimbabwe (@edmnangagwa) September 6, 2019
The war veteran’s death comes just two years after he was ousted in a military coup. On November 15, 2017, the Zimbabwean army placed Mugabe under house arrest in a coup d’état led by Emmerson Mnangagwa, his own deputy. He was then removed as the leader of ZANU-PF and resigned later that month after impeachment proceedings were started against him.
Also in 2017, Grace Mugabe declared that nobody was “fit” to rule after her husband. She opined that he would rule Zimbabwe from his grave. It remains to be seen if Mugabe’s legacy will live on.
Robert Mugabe is survived by his wife, Grace, and three children, Bona (29), Robert Jr. (26), and Chatunga (22).